It's time we stopped justifying the poor treatment of women and others in the name of tradition. We need to move on and adapt better values, better ideas, and leave old ones behind. But for that to happen, we must all get together and murder this beast called "Indian culture". As long as that remains, it will continue to hold us back. <br></br>
flickr photo by bernat... http://flickr.com/photos/bernatcg/2240653273 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

It's time we stopped justifying the poor treatment of women and others in the name of tradition. We need to move on and adapt better values, better ideas, and leave old ones behind. But for that to happen, we must all get together and murder this beast called "Indian culture". As long as that remains, it will continue to hold us back.

flickr photo by bernat... http://flickr.com/photos/bernatcg/2240653273 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

We Need to Murder “Indian Culture”

Was reading this blog post by Women’s Web on what Indian women need to do right from the start of their marriage. Including:

  1. Calling your husband by his name
  2. Not being solely responsible for cooking/cleaning
  3. Not quitting their job

All this is common sense right? Before reading it, I didn’t even know that Indian women don’t call husbands by their name! I mean what do they use instead? “Ji”? I don’t know…. Whatever, the point is that despite the very obvious (to me) advice, the comments section was noteworthy for one interesting fact – all the dissenting views were from men.

One commenter even remarked on this and I found myself unconsciously apologizing for these guys belonging to my gender. Of course, a moment later I realized I had nothing to apologize for. I have no connection whatsoever with them and what they say doesn’t reflect on me…except maybe in the minds of women who have been burned repeatedly.

One comment from a guy says:

“Please don’t get married if you are not ready for marriage.”

The implication being that marriage by its very nature requires women to do the housework/cleaning, to quit their job, and probably not call their husband by their first name. But who gave these individuals the right to determine what marriage entails? Reading further, I saw the following gem:

“Or please marry a non-indian guy”

Ah ha, so here’s the crux of the matter! His conception of a meek woman has nothing to do with marriage, but with Indian marriage. Moreover he asks the women to marry a foreigner, instead of changing his own attitudes. As if the man’s personality is a given…a force of nature. He will have certain expectations period. If you want fair treatment and all, please marry a firang.

I don’t know why, but I shouldn’t be surprised. The much touted “Indian culture” is a sweet deal only for the male half of the coin. The women get rolled over pretty hard. Gotta be a slave and work around the house? Check. Show meekness and “adjust”? Check. Give up a paying job to soothe the man’s ego? Check.

Which man wouldn’t like Indian culture? It’s like expecting the Romans to champion the cause of freedom for slaves!

Of course, not all Indian men are assholes. I have plenty of flaws, but I don’t consider myself to be in this same league of douchebaggery. And I’m hardly alone. I loved this video on Youtube titled “I’m not a woman” apologizing to all women on behalf of Indian men. Again – I don’t believe I’m responsible for what others do, but it’s a nice video nonetheless.

The massive enabling factor for the terrible behavior of Indian men towards women is of course…Indian Culture! A ridiculous mish mash of customs and practices designed to justify the worst possible behavior in men. Even Ram – the hero of India’s older Epic – refused to take his wife back after she had been “polluted” by the villain. As if it was her fault that she’d been kidnapped!

“Indian culture” needs to die. Or at least those parts that relate to the treatment of others. There’s no two ways about it, no getting around the fact. Someone needs to take a loaded shotgun, place it right next to the head of Indian culture, and pull the trigger. It’s time has long gone. Now is the period of humanism, of equality, and of fairness.

But for that, Indian men will have to give up many of their benefits. They have to lose all the justifications in their own mind for their terrible behavior. But if that happens, it means they themselves will be responsible for what they do! And that requires courage.

So what do you say? Isn’t it time we all got together and collectively murdered “Indian culture”?

What do you think of this post?
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Comments

  1. Very interesting discussion. As someone coming in from the outside researching Indian culture, I am heartened by your blog and unsurprised by some of the answers. :) Good of you to engage the discussion–and I’m thankful to find someone who has such a progressive view to compare to my “academic” readings.

    Side note, as someone with a background in psychology:

    Oppression is not limited to physical force, as anyone who’s ever been emotionally abused can tell you. The law may support your “rights,” but if you are beaten down low enough through verbal abuse, the idea that you have the right is foreign.

    Reply

    • In reply to Ally

      I agree that emotional abuse can have a crippling effect on one’s ability to make rational choices. The question of course is to what extent the law takes cognizance of this inability and how that determination of incapacity is made. I’m guessing it would require extensive psychological profiling to rule out false positives since we can’t simply take a person’s word on it – they would be unqualified to assess themselves in any case.

      No doubt it’s a complicated situation – and I don’t think there’s a perfect answer…

      Reply

  2. sad face of INDIA.. but if have been exposed to world history , u’d b surprsd to NOTE ALMOST all the countries went thru the same phase .. but the real trageddy is most of the countries grew up and some (like india) are STILL clinged to the rusted-pre-historic-superstitions…but also pls know some parts of the country are fast changing and females do dominate ..
    Also we can hope for a better future…

    Reply

  3. Very powerful title. I think a lot of this is the old way of thinking and not the new modernized way. I am an Indian American that runs a lifestyle blog – check it out. I can definitely attest to a lot of what you say, but I would say a lot of it is the past and the culture is transforming.

    Reply

  4. Chitrangada says:

    I totally agree with you. Indian culture sucks for that matter. There is nothing in the name of gender equality. Sadly, even the highly educated society thinks it’s the duty or rather obligation of a married woman to toil around harder and please everyone in the house, without expecting any help from her husband. I really hope, with fast globalization, things are going to change.

    Reply

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